Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Consider This The Opening Salvo For The War On Christmas
By R.J Eskow
Uh-oh, we're running late. It's December 6 already, and nobody's fired a shot in the war against Christmas yet. So let me be the first. Surely you know about the Big War, right? Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson - and a dozen other rightwing hatemongers - have been complaining about it since they invented it last year.
And of course they invented this so-called war. Corporations aren't attacking Christmas when they ask employees to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." They're just saying that all Americans, including those who don't celebrate Christmas in their beliefs, are welcome to patronize their store. The fanatical media mavens, always looking for a new phony cause, invented the war on Christmas.
The conservatives just needed a new enemy to hate, somebody else they could unite against. Their philosophy is all about opposing ideas and people rather than supporting ideas and people. There's never been a war on Christmas.
I'm declaring one. This is the opening salvo of my official war on Christmas. Oh, not the real Christmas, mind you. Depending on what you believe, Christmas can be either a) the time to remember when God came to Earth in human form and sacrificed himself for us, or b) a holiday that combined a number of ancient solstice festivals and resurrection stories that each reflected elemental aspects of the human spirit.
I have no problem with Christmas in either form. Either way, it's a beautiful synthesis of what it means to be alive, of the way that human beings can learn to love both the creation and the Creator. It's a candle lit in the darkness of winter to preserve the light of soul. Actually, I love Christmas - that Christmas, the Christmas that lives in the heart.
It's the other Christmas I'm declaring war against - the political Christmas, the state-sponsored Christmas promoted by the government (and by that quasigovernmental agency called Fox News).
I'm declaring war on the Christmas that's used by demagogues like O'Reilly to divide people. I'm declaring war on the Christmas that has more to do with the principles of Karl Rove than it does with the principles of Jesus Christ. I'm declaring war on the Christmas of the haters, the bullies, the war-lovers, the shouters, the interrupters.
Christmas was designed to remind us of the One who refused to hate minorities, the One who found a lesson in the behavior of the Samaritan (from a despised sect of outsiders), who saved the prostitute's life, who said that the country's religious leaders didn't have a monopoly on the truth.
His Christmas, that Christmas, is a time to love those who are different, to accept them and learn from them - not a time to fan the flames of hatred to increase ratings or get more support for the Republican agenda. In the real spirit of Christmas, atheists and Muslims would be as welcome at the table - and on television - as the most devout Christian. That was His example. He would welcome those who, predictably, will argue that this entire piece - and Christmas in any form - is naïve and foolish. It doesn't matter. This war's for them, too.
I'm also declaring war against the corporate-sponsored Christmas, the Credit Card Christmas, the debt-amplifying and soul-killing Christmas. I'm declaring war on the Christmas that says you need to buy and consume to celebrate the holiday. I'm declaring war on the Christmas of the monolithic economic machine that perverts even our most sacred rituals in order to tighten the bonds of financial enslavement.
I'm declaring war on the Christmas that's being used to sell John Gibson's books - and cheap gadgets nobody needs, shining things that last a year or two, consumer ghostware that people buy in order to forget for a brief moment that most of them spend their lives enslaved to economic entities that don't give a damn if they live or die.
It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven, we are told. So why are we being lectured on Christmas by rich men? And why are Christians still following wealthy and politically-connected preachers, two thousand years after Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the temple? For that matter, why are corporate CEOs telling people what they "want for Christmas"?
Christmas Club card? We don't need to show you no stinkin' Christmas Club card!
There's a Christmas of the fist and a Christmas of the heart. There's an Internet-connected Christmas that links you to foxnews.com and to online banking, and a spiritually-connected Christmas that binds you to the people and things you treasure. There's a political Christmas designed to dominate and crush the friendless and unloved, and there's a Christmas that's designed to comfort the powerless and lonely by telling the story of One who died powerless and alone.
I'm declaring war on that first Christmas, the worldly one. If there wasn't a war on it before, I'm saying right here that I'd like to get one started. I'd like to see that shadow holiday, that anti-Christmas, disappear forever. For God's sake, hasn't the world had enough of it?
The two Christmases can't coexist. Where hate is, love cannot be. Where greed is, charity and sacrifice cannot be. In order to save the real Christmas we need to fight the other Christmas - the Christmas of Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson, and of the big corporations getting rich in His name. That's why I'm declaring war on Christmas - their Christmas.
Who's with me?
The moral? It's the humility of Christmas that counts, not the hampers and gifts... Merry Christmas y'all!